Honor Flight WWII Veterans back home after trip to D.C. - WNEM TV 5

Honor Flight WWII Veterans back home after trip to Washington D.C.

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Thirty-five local Veterans are home after visiting Washington D.C. The trip of a lifetime was paid for by Honor Flight of Southern Nevada.

Fresh off a flight from the East Coast, Army veteran Gaetano Benza can't wait to charge his camera and add new pictures to his memory wall.

"If I can find more space up high, yes surely," said Benza.

The 88-year-old said the events in the snapshots helped shape him into the proud World War II veteran he is today. He says this weekend's visit to the Capitol during the government shutdown was no exception.

"With this trip, to feel we have achieved something that was due to us," said Benza.

"The shutdown to them didn't make any sense. It was a waste of time," said Belinda Morse, the chairman of board and flight director.

Morse, with Honor Flight of Southern Nevada, remembers beaming with pride watching Benza and his brothers in arms bust through barriers at the Korean War Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial. Both national monuments are closed because of the Government shutdown.

"When they pushed the barrier and the water spilled on the floor, the bus started cheering and clapping. We just went right thru the barrier," said Benza.

The World War II Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery were highlights on the weekend agenda, sites Benza said he is thankful for the opportunity to photograph while he has the chance.

"No veteran, in fact, no American should be denied going there. There's something impressive there," said Benza.

The warm welcome home celebration at McCarran, he says, was the perfect way to end their trip of a lifetime.

"People just clapping with big signs,'Thank you, thank you, thank you,'" said Benza.

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